Middle Grade #pitchwars 2019 Stats


Since there seems to still be interest in the Pitch Wars submission stats from the 2019 season, I’ll be slowly working on these in the next few weeks and releasing by Category. I did MG first because it’s the smallest category, but I’ll be working on YA, NA, and Adult soon. Then I might do a post comparing the different categories if there is interest.

Please don’t reproduce this information anywhere else. This work takes a long time so I would appreciate if you would instead link to my post. If you’d like to show your appreciation for this work you can buy me a coffee, paypal me, or donate to Pitch Wars but it’s definitely not necessary or expected!

We received 472 Middle Grade submissions. With 20 MG mentors, this means 4.42% of MG applicants were able to obtain a mentor.

The average word count was 50,735 and the median word count was 49,000. Word counts of submissions ranged from 2504 to 130,000.

Applicants can submit to up to 4 mentors. Sometimes they choose to submit to fewer than that (I’m not sure why — it doesn’t hurt you to submit to someone who may be a stretch, but people have their reasons).

Pie chart showing 95% of mentees submitted to 4 mentors, where as 3% submitted to 3 mentors, 1% each to 2 and 1 mentor.

2.8% of MG applicants submitted to 3 mentors, 1.5% to 2 mentors, and 1.3% to 1 mentor. 94.5% of MG applicants maxed out their 4 mentor selections. 0 applicants who selected fewer than 4 mentors were chosen as a mentee, but since the percentages are so low, that’s not necessarily statistically significant.

5 submissions, or 1.1% were Graphic Novels.

Applicants can indicate if they want to allow “swapping” on their work. What that means is a mentor who is submitted to is allowed to send the submission package to a mentor who was not submitted to if they think it is a good fit for the mentor. 98.7% of MG applicants gave permission for mentors to “swap” their submission, whereas 1.3% declined.

Swapping is very restricted internally, and mentors have to submit a short application to request each and every swap. For example, there were only five swap requests approved in MG.

Submissions were open from September 25 to September 27, but we opened up two hours early on September 24th.

Chart showing 6.6% submissions

6.6% of MG applicants submitted in those two hours on the 24th (my birthday!). 45.1% of applicants submitted on the 25th, 26.9% submitted on the 26th, and 21.4% submitted on the 27th.

4.7% of MG applicants submitted in the last two hours of the submission period. I’m always amazed by the number of people who wait until the last minute to submit. (Don’t do this, if you can at all help it. If you have a computer or internet issue, we do NOT allow late submissions under any circumstances.)

As far as inbox crossover, the mentors with the most submissions in common were K.C. Held and Sean Easley.

I’m aware that most people care about genre breakdown, so that’s why I saved it for last. 🙂

I insisted this year that we have a drop down list for genre in order to make these stats easier. Otherwise, people put in genres like “Middle Grade Science Fiction Fantasy with romantic and mystery elements in a setting reminiscent of the 1920s,” so we end up having literally hundreds of “genres” which makes stats unwieldy. Thank you so much to everyone who complied and went along with this without complaint. Otherwise, these stats would simply not happen.

Below is a breakdown of applicant genres and mentee genres. A pie chart of this info is unwieldy, so forgive the plain text chart.

Genre Applicants Mentees
Contemporary 19.7% 35.0%
Fantasy 49.8% 40.0%
Mystery 5.5% 5.0%
Sci-Fi 8.9% 5.0%
Adventure 5.7% 5.0%
Hist/Alt History 3.6% 5.0%
Horror 3.2% 0.0%
STEM 1.9% 0.0%
Literary 0.8% 0.0%
Romance 0.4% 0.0%
Gothic 0.4% 5.0%

The Fantasy category includes urban fantasy and contemporary fantasy in addition to high fantasy and others, so it’s broad. 14% of submissions (so 28.5% of the Fantasy subs) were classified as Urban/Contemporary Fantasy. 15% of mentees had submissions originally labeled Urban/Contemporary Fantasy.

Note: There were 20 MG mentors, so 5% is equivalent to one mentee.

In the Agent Showcase, MG entries received an average of 19.2 requests, with a median of 12.5, which indicates there were a few entries with a high number of requests bringing the average up. The five most-requested manuscripts in the Showcase were (in order) submitted with the following genres:

  • Contemporary
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
  • Historical Fiction
  • Contemporary
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism.

I would like to say this: I know how easy it is to drown in stats like these and analyze and over-analyze. Please try to avoid going down that spiral. These are just statistics – they don’t paint the full picture of the market, mentor thought processes, or your personal chances in this industry. Do not let these numbers consume you because they mean practically nothing for your own personal situation.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t include xyz statistics, there is almost definitely a reason, whether it’s we don’t want to release that info because it will make people feel bad OR it would take too much time to put that info together, the chances are very slim that we’ll release additional statistics.

That’s it for now! ❤

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